wrong?

Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. It could be external parasites, allergies or dermatitis. I would recommend having it checked by your vet as soon as possible for a diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced pet care professionals :

It is a symptom caused by dry skin, allergies, parasites, or other underlying conditions. Anxiety and boredom can cause dogs to lick, chew, and bite as a response. Changing your dog`s diet may be the key to stopping obsessive licking behavior. Fatty acid supplements can help ease pain and itching from dry skin.
Bandaging a wound on your dog can be enough to stop your dog wanting to lick the wound, as it`s often a case of out of sight out of mind. Tip – You want to ensure that the bandage is on firmly but not too tight, that it is comfortable for your dog and they are able to move around easily.
Distract them – Try giving them something else to do that stops them licking, such as a chew toy or a food puzzle. Training – Try training them to sit, or teach them to do something that redirects their licking and is rewarded by your affection and attention, such as giving you their paw or rolling over.
Often, if pets are left alone too long, they will lick and chew an area of their body until it gets raw and sore. This is most common in pets with high energy levels that are bored, or that aren`t getting enough exercise or attention.
Dogs lick their owners as a way to show affection

It is a way for dogs to show affection towards the owner, but also as a sign of submission and fearlessness. The leg licking motion is often also a sign of gratitude. Dogs lick legs because they are grateful to the owner for giving them food and attention.

If your dog is licking themselves, you, or objects excessively, to the point that it seems like a self-stimulatory behavior, this might be a sign of anxiety, boredom, or pain. Obsessive self-licking can also be a sign of allergies or other health problems.
The excessive licking behavior in dogs has been, for many years, attributed to anxiety and stress release. While this may be the case for some canines, recent research has suggested that gastrointestinal issues may actually be a major factor in the development of the behavior for many canines.
While all dogs have the ability and tendency to lick their humans, some breeds lick a lot more than others. Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Pit Bulls and Poodles all tend to be frequent lickers. As for smaller breeds, the Bichon Frise, the Pug and the Chihuahua are also prone to people-licking.
Quercetin is a bioflavonoid that provides natural allergy relief for dogs reducing symptoms like itching, scratching, licking and chewing. Many veterinarians suggest quercetin because it is a safe, natural antihistamine for dogs. In fact, quercetin is often referred to as “Nature`s Benadryl”.
Once a week, spray your dog`s fur with the mixture. Although not scientifically proven to get rid of flea, the acidic taste of the vinegar may repel fleas and other parasites. If your dog dislikes being sprayed, dip a washcloth into the mixture and rub your dog`s coat. There is no need to rinse your dog afterward.
Pests and Parasites

Fleas, mites, and ticks can cause irritation, exposing your dog to bacteria, yeast, and fungal infections. Demodex mites, walking dandruff, flea allergy dermatitis, and sarcoptic mange (caused by the Sarcoptes scabiei mite) can all cause rashes on your dog`s skin, including her belly and groin area.

Also, don`t let your dog lick your leg or feet if you have any open wounds. The dog`s mouth hosts many bacteria that can get into the open wound and cause you some serious illness. In other cases, your feet and legs could contain bacteria that can harm your dog`s digestive and overall health.
For dry itchy skin, hot spots, or skin infections you can bathe your pet in warm water then rinse him or her with a solution of 1 part ACV to 3 parts water. This vinegar rinse will also leave their coats soft and shiny. Sponge undiluted vinegar into your dog`s coat and skin.
Apple Cider Vinegar Water Spray

If your pet has itchy skin, this concoction of 50/50 water and ACV spray can help relieve your pet`s skin allergies or irritation. This home remedy can also be used in a bath format. Fill up a small container with equal parts water and apple cider vinegar and soak your pet`s paws in it.

Typically, an anxious dog will focus their licking on themselves or on an inanimate object. Anxious licking behavior is often accompanied by one or more additional signs of anxiety, which include: Panting. Pacing.
Studies have shown that licking releases endorphins in a dog`s brain. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that make dogs (and us!) feel calmer and more relaxed. This then leads to a release of dopamine, another neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and motivation.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorders

Dogs can experience psychological disorders which can lead to compulsive behaviors such as excessive licking. Stress, anxiety, separation and boredom can all lead to excessive licking.

Nystatin and Triamcinolone contains antifungal and steroid drugs, prescribed for itching, inflammation, and pain.
Olive oil can help relieve dry skin and irritation from both psoriasis and eczema. Applying a pure, cold-pressed olive oil to affected areas of the skin can also help your body heal itself by moisturizing the skin and keeping it hydrated.
Don`t use Vaseline as a way to treat hot spots or other skin irritations on your dog. If your pet has any kind of skin disorder, always consult with your veterinarian first.
Flea allergy dermatitis, seasonal allergies or atopy, food allergies, contact dermatitis (e.g., soaps and perfumes), and sarcoptic mange (mites) are some of the most common causes of pruritus in dogs. “Pruritus due to skin disease is one of the most common reasons dog owners seek veterinary care.”
ANTI-histamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl®), cetirizine (Zyrtec®), and hydroxyzine, are commonly taken by humans to treat allergy symptoms and can be used for dogs as well. These medications work by preventing histamine from binding to cells and exerting its effects.
The most commonly used antihistamines for dogs include: Diphenhydramine (Benadryl®) Loratadine (Claritin®) Cetirizine (Zyrtec® or Reactine®)

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. My dog licks his feet and legs and they are turning brown. He is a white dog. Can you help?
ANSWER : A. Licking the feet and legs can be caused by a number of things in dogs including allergies, illness or even stress behaviors. Allergies are the most common in dogs, with yeast infections coming in second. Allergies can cause the area to become red and itching, making your dog want to lick and chew on them. Over time, the area may become stained from saliva, especially in lighter or white-coated dogs. Yeast infections are also common between the toes, and may cause a smelly “corn chip” smell to appear near your dog’s feet. Again, dogs will attempt to lick and chew to relieve the itch. Keeping the feet clean and dry can help relieve both allergies and infections and pet wipes or a baby wipe of all paws when your dog comes in from outdoors may also help. Keeping your dog from licking the space with either dog booties or an Elizabethan collar is also good as it will prevent secondary infection and staining of the paws and legs. If your dog is determined to keep licking and keeping the feet clean and dry do not help, then your vet can help by providing a medication to treat any infection or provide relief of allergies.

Q. Whenever I take my dog on walks he always barks at people and others dogs in my neighborhood. What should I do to resolve the problem
ANSWER : A. The very first thing to do is to make sure your dog is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. A tired dog is a good, happy dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration. Depending on his breed, age, and health, your dog may require several long walks as well as a good game of chasing the ball and playing with some interactive toys.

Figure out what he gets out of barking and remove it. Don’t give your dog the opportunity to continue the barking behavior.

Ignore your dog’s barking for as long as it takes him to stop. That means don’t give him attention at all while he’s barking. Your attention only rewards him for being noisy. Don’t talk to, don’t touch, or even look at him. When he finally quiets, even to take a breath, reward him with a treat. To be successful with this method, you must wait as long as it takes for him to stop barking. Yelling at him is the equivalent of barking with him.

Get your dog accustomed to whatever causes him to bark. Start with whatever makes him bark at a distance. It must be far enough away that he doesn’t bark when he sees it. Feed him lots of good treats. Move the stimulus a little closer (perhaps as little as a few inches or a few feet to start) and feed treats. If the stimulus moves out of sight, stop giving your dog treats. You want your dog to learn that the appearance of the stimulus leads to good things.

Teach your dog the ‘quiet’ command. Oddly, the first step is to teach your dog to bark on command. Give your dog the command to “speak,” wait for him to bark two or three times, and then stick a tasty treat in front of his nose. When he stops barking to sniff the treat, praise him and give him the treat. Repeat until he starts barking as soon as you say “speak.” Once your dog can reliably bark on command, teach him the “quiet” command. In a calm environment with no distractions, tell him to “speak.” When he starts barking, say “quiet” and stick a treat in front of his nose. Praise him for being quiet and give him the treat.

As in all training, always end training on a good note, even if it is just for obeying something very simple, like the ‘sit’ command. If you dog regresses in training, go back to the last thing he did successfully and reinforce that before moving on again. Keep sessions short, 15-20 minutes max, and do this several times a day.

Q. Rescued a dog almost two weeks ago, and now that her kennel cough is gone her personality shines!! No previous training, how should I start?
ANSWER : A. POST FOUR:

After your dog is familiar with the behavior you lured from scratch, and taught to your dog, you can start to use the “no-reward marker” I talked about. What you do is ask the dog to perform the behavior, and if the dog does not perform the behavior, you simply say your no-reward marker (choose one: eh-eh, hey, uh-oh, oops) show them the treat, put it behind your back, and BRIEFLY ignore your dog. Just turn your back for a second or two, before turning back to your dog and saying, “let’s try that again.” When you’re ready to start over with your dog, make sure you move around. If you are repeating the same cue while in the same position, while your dog is in the same position, you are likely to receive the same results. The more you move around, and start fresh, the better your chances are of having your dog listen to your cue the second time around. BIG rewards when they dog it successfully! Lots of praise and treats.

My no-reward marker is “hey.” When my dog does something wrong I say, “hey” and she immediately understands that she needs to offer a different behavior. This is clear to her. I don’t have to say it in a mean way, I simply say, “hey” in a normal tone of voice and she understands what the word means.

Once you’ve built up that connection and communication with your new dog, you can work on all kinds of fun behaviors! I personally enjoy the more zen-like behaviors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruy9UMcuGh8

I like to teach my dog fun tricks that offer her a “job” to do of sorts like object retrieval: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4iertZSva8

(object retrieval training completed; what it looks like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jx0Dml28FGY)

Scent-games are fun too! Very confidence building. Hide a REALLY smelly treat in a box, and place that box in a line of boxes. Let your dog go in the room while saying something like “search!” or “find it!” and watch them hunt for that smelly treat! Lots of rewards when they find it!

Q. How do I determine how much my overweight pet should weigh?
ANSWER : A. There are many tools to determine overweight and obesity levels in pets. A new tool, morphometric measurements and body fat index, are available to accurately determine a pet’s ideal weight; this will allow an accurate determination of the amount of food a pet should receive to achieve weight loss. Feeding the correct amount will lead to greater weight loss success.

There are many weight loss food options to help pets reach their ideal weight. Your veterinarian can help make a ideal weight recommendation. Here are some tips to help your dog lose weight in a healthy and safe way:

1. Diet: Providing a healthy and well balanced diet is essential to your pet’s overall health. Finding the right food for your dog can be a challenging process. For those overweight animals many commercial dog companies offer weight loss diets, but it is important to evaluate food labels for adequate nutritional content.

You want to ensure you are not missing other essential vitamin or mineral content. Volume of food is also important and the amount of food that works for one breed of dog may not be the same for another breed of dog. Portion control as opposed to free-choice feeding can help your dog to drop a few unnecessary pounds.

There are also prescription weight loss foods designed by veterinary nutritionists, such as Hill’s r/d (http://bit.ly/1AoENSd). Some pet owners find that home cooking is the best option for helping to provide a well-balanced and realistic diet plan. There are websites such as balanceit.com that offers recipes to fit your dog’s specific needs. Consulting with your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist to find the appropriate diet is a great way to help your dog be as healthy as possible.

2. Exercise: Another great tactic for weight loss for your dog is exercise. Whether this is through running, walking or playing with a favorite toy all of these are wonderful types of exercise to help keep your dog at a lean and healthy weight.

For those pet owners with busy schedules utilizing professional dog walking services or playtime through dog daycare services is another option. It has been shown that those pet owners that exercise regularly with their pets generally live a healthier lifestyle.

3. Physical therapy: As animals age pet owners offer encounter their favorite canine having more difficulty walking and have a dwindling desire to play with toys. Physical therapy, specifically hydrotherapy is a wonderful way to help older and arthritic animals gain more mobility and lose weight. Hydrotherapy has been proven to have several therapeutic effects on the body including, muscle strengthening, relief of swelling, decreased joint pain, less stiffness in limbs, improved circulation, weight loss, and increased tissue healing to name a few. For more information on the benefits of hydrotherapy:
http://bit.ly/1w1qqoy

4. Veterinary visit and blood work: Weight gain can also be related to underlying health concerns such as hypothyroidism or other endocrine disorders. Scheduling a veterinary evaluation and routine blood work can be another important component in increasing the longevity of your dog’s life. Conditions such as hypothyroidism that predispose dogs to gain weight can be treated with a daily medication to improve hormonal balance. If feel that your dog is unnecessarily overweight there can be an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed.

5. Healthy treats: Pet owners love the chance to reward their favorite canine companion with treats and most dogs jump at the chance to consume these delicious products. The problem is many treats, which can include commercial dog treats or table scrapes can add many unnecessary calories to your dog’s daily intake. Reading labels and making note of the calories in these treats is an important component of understanding your dog’s overall health. Treats should not exceed more than 10 percent of your pet’s daily calories. There are healthier treats that can be offered to your pet to keep calories lower yet provide a fuller sensation. A pet owner can add steamed or pureed vegetables, such as carrots, green beans or sweet potato to add more fiber and thus a fuller feeling for your dog.

Q. My dog has no fleas, but is scratching and licking continually. He has been through a round of prednisone and it hasn’t helped. What can I do?
ANSWER : A. Itching can be caused by more than just external parasites, and if your dog is already on a flea medication, then it is possibly not the case. Itching can indicate anything from allergies to even minor skin infections causing problems. If your dog has been treated with prednisone (a steroid that inhibits the immune system) and it did not help, then looking at other options may help.

Food allergies are very common in dogs and can present with itching and licking all over the body rather than on just one spot. Common food allergens include ingredients such as wheat, corn and soy products, however dogs can be allergic to almost anything! Starting a food trial of an allergen-friendly diet from your vet or pet store that avoids these common ingredients may help. The food should be switched over a period of 7-9 days and then given about a month to decide if it is helping.

Small skin infections or yeast in the skin can also cause itching, however this itching is often more specific to a certain area of the body (such as the toes, or base of the tail). Your vet can perform a skin scraping of the area to be cultured at a lab to look for any yeast or bacteria. If they are present, a medication given either orally or placed on the affected area can clear up the infection.

In some cases, licking and chewing can actually be due to a boredom or anxiety behavior. Dogs may lick one spot obsessively to the point of creating sores or wounds in the area. Stopping your dog from licking and chewing either through the use of dog booties, no lick strips, T-shirts or even Elizabethan collars can break the habit and give the area time to heal. Licking and chewing can also cause the spread of bacterial infections so should be deterred even if not behaviorally caused.

Q. My dog keeps licking himself in the same area, what does this mean?
ANSWER : A. Excessive licking in one area often leads to a condition called Acral Lick Dermatitis or Lick Granuloma. By constantly nibbling on one spot, which is usually on one of front legs, dogs can cause skin irritation and inflammation and not uncommonly skin infection.

There is a long list of possible causes of this problem. In many dogs this is purely a behavioral issue related to anxiety, boredom or stress. Dogs with joint pain like to lick over the painful area to alleviate pain. Skin allergy or infections, skin foreign bodies predispose dogs to Acral Lick Granuloma as well. Finally, low thyroid hormone level is believed to play a role in developing Lick Granuloma.

Treatment is often long, and close cooperation between the owner and the vet is required. The effort should ultimately be directed to identify and treat the underlying cause.

Read Full Q/A … : Excessive Dog Licking

Q. My Bulldog puppy growls, barks and even tries to bite me when I say “no” to him. What can I do?
ANSWER : A. First, avoid scolding him and acting aggressively towards him if you don’t want him to be acting aggressively towards you. There are other methods you can use to communicate to your dog that you don’t want him to continue doing what he is doing. I recommend you stop telling him “no”, scolding him, or raising your voice at him. Everything coming from you should be 100% positive and 100% calm.

Try to figure out ways to clearly communicate what you want to your dog. If you want your dog to leave something or someone alone, I strongly suggest teaching your dog commands like “leave it”. Here is a link to a video in which I explain how to do it:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1TS5nA7z5Q

Another thing I suggest you use is a no-reward marker. This clearly communicates when your dog has done something wrong. No-reward markers have to be introduced during your training sessions. You should be doing at least three training sessions per day, that are something like 3-10 minutes long (working on different things each training session). If you are teaching your dog something BRAND NEW, do not use the no-reward marker, as you do not want to discourage your dog from performing behaviors for you. Use the no-reward marker for known behaviors only. Here is another helpful video about this:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdU5a6fXKlg

Lure each new behavior (as shown in the video) using high value treats. Let’s say you’re working on “down” which is a behavior your dog knows fairly well. Present the treat to your dog. Ask your dog to “down” (only ask once). If he does not go “down” immediately, say, “uh-oh” or “eh-eh” in a gentle tone, and then place the treat behind your back. This communicates to your dog that they did something to make the treat go away.

After you place the treat behind your back to show your pup “that was wrong” you need to communicate to your pup “let’s try again” by getting your pup to walk around for a second, and then start the behavior all over again. If your puppy is very young, chances are you haven’t taught him a solid “down” behavior yet. So, as I said, do not use this method until you have lured each new behavior as shown in the video.

This is the order in which you should teach behaviors: Lure using a high value treat as shown in the video. After a few successful food lures, lure with an empty hand. If the pup is successful with the empty hand lure, reward with lots of treats. If the pup is unsuccessful, then go back to food-luring a couple more times. After a few successful empty-hand lures, you can begin to add the cue. Say “sit”, then lure with an empty hand, and then reward. Once your pup understands the cue, begin to work on the no-reward marker.

Q. Why does my dog keep licking her butt alot? We can’t take her to the vet. But, after the bath, she seem fine and not lick her butt alot.
ANSWER : A. I would ask the vet (or groomer who gives the bath) if they are expressing your dog’s anal glands during the bath. This is a very common thing for them to do and it would explain why your dog is so comfortable after a bath. It would also explain why your dog licks her bum so often! Dog’s have these bothersome glands that are located right next to their anus called anal glands. These glands fill up every week or two with fluid (in some cases, very thick fluid) and many dogs have a hard time expressing this fluid on their own. This causes them a great deal of discomfort and in turn causes them to lick their bum! Some dogs will even scoot their bum on the carpet in an effort to empty the glands. Your vet (or your groomer in this case) can help you and your dog out by emptying these glands out on a regular basis and keeping your dog comfortable.